There's a lot happening at the First community Congregational Church at 200 E. Leeland Heights Blvd. everything from a Harvest Festival, a Harvest Dinner and some great bluegrass music.
Pastor Deb Frysinger says the community is invited to the events that begin on Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"On this day, we will have a hog roast, baked beans and cole slaw for $5 and it's set between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the day there will be a bounce house for youngsters and face painting and storytelling. From 4:30 to 6 p.m., there will be authentic German food and it's free, Frysinger said and at 5 p.m. guests are in for a treat when the Skeeterland Bluegrass Band performs a concert at the church.
Skeeterland Bluegrass Band includes Southwest residents Pat Olkowoski, fiddle; Rick Barbara, bass; Doug Ibbetson, banjo; Pete Popravak, lead guitar; and Silvia Medina, mandolin. The group will perform on Oct. 23 at the First Congregational Church on Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. Earlier in the day, the church has planned a hog roast and all that goes with it. Photo provided
"Are you looking for a slice of American tradition? How about some old time fiddle tunes and bluegrass pickin'? If so, the Skeeterland Band has just what the doctored ordered," Frysinger said.
No stranger the Southwest Florida, Skeeterland Bluegrass Band is an acoustic string band comprised of five talented musicians drawn together by a mutual love of music that speaks to the soul of America. For those who have heard them perform at the Lee County Civic Center on the first Sunday of the month, here's a great time to hear them again, Frysinger said. The bluegrass concert is free but the church will offer a free-will offering.
All are permanent residents of Lee County, coming from Illinois, California, Connecticut, Cuba and Alaska. Doug Ibbetson, banjo picker and band spokesperson, jokes that "we are one of the few bands of our type without a southern accent!" They have recently recorded their first CD entitled "Scratchin' the Itch."
Then come Friday, Oct. 29, the church is holding a Harvest Dinner from 5 to 6:30 p.m. with turkey and homemade dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans with bacon, salad and drinks and homemade pies. Tickets are $8 or two for $15. Children under 10 are $5, Frysinger said.
She cautioned that reservations must be made for the dinner as tickets will not be available at the door. Call 239-369-1615 to RSVP.
The Skeeterland Bluegrass Band performs all over Southwest Florida and is a foot tapping favorite of those who enjoy country music and especially those who like picking and banjo music which makes the band truly bluegrass.
Doug Ibbetson, a member of the band said they lace their performances with comedy and some" nutty tunes."
And there is always a lot of clean bantering going on between band members and the audience, which is a favorite for a family oriented audience.
Ibbetson who is a southern California native who owned a fishing resort, Skeeterband loves to play folk songs and fiddle tunes that originated in the Appalachian and Ozark mountains.
Ibbetson is the banjo player and others include Pat Olkowski, fiddler; Silvia Medina, mandolin; Pete Popravak, lead guitar and Rick Barba, base.
Each member in the band also sings either lead or harmony, depending on the song, Ibbetson said.
They play some of the old Bluegrass that hasn't been heard for years,. Ibbetson said that many times folks jump move, move their tables and chairs and let loose dancing.
If you love bluegrass music, some of the finest around, and you're hungry for a great meal, Frysinger says you shouldn't miss the hog roast on Oct. 23.
"We're going to have a great time for the entire family," she said.